Take Your Pick

The disconnect. Stock markets don’t want a strong economy, since a resurgence in growth would mean the end of cheap money and heighten worries about inflation, said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. “So many people want a strong economy. Beware of what you ask for. I think a decent economy is required for the stock market, but not a strong one,” Doll said. “A strong one will bring the questions, ‘When is the Fed done? When is inflation coming back? When is the end of the cycle?'”

“If the objective is to find jobs for our kids, absolutely you want a strong economy,” he added. “But if you want a strong stock market, at least in the near term, you want a good but not great economy.” Doll expects companies to begin spending more vigorously by the end of the year, hiring more workers and increasing capital expenditures, and although it won’t result in a strong economy, we will be “heading in the right direction.” Stock markets will only go higher if companies show top-line revenue growth, he said: “That’s been kind of scarce of late. If we don’t get revenue growth, the stock market will stop going up.”

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